Blazers Finish Trip 0-3 With Loss To Lakers

by Casey Holdahl
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LOS ANGELES -- After going a perfect 3-0 on their previous road trip, the Portland Trail Blazers wrapped up a 0-3 road trip with a 102-93 loss to the Los Angeles Lakers Friday night at Staple Center.

“I don’t know if there’s a common thread among these last three games,” said Trail Blazers head coach Terry Stotts. “But tonight, they gave Dame a lot of attention, we didn’t shoot the ball particularly well from three, which we have relied on, we’ve had a couple poor shooting quarters. Our turnovers gave us trouble in the third quarter, which led to their transition.”

The Trail Blazers are now 18-14 overall and 10-8 on the road this season. The loss extends their losing streak to four games, their longest dry spell of the season thus far, and ends a four-game losing streak for the Lakers.

“I think the level of competition has been a little bit more stiff,” said Damian Lillard. “The three home games and the three game trip that we went on were all teams in the same boat as us, fighting for a spot in the Western Conference. A lot of talent, just not the same amount of experience. We were the more experienced team in those games and we were able to pull out tight games, because of our experience. Then you fast forward to the Phoenix game, Denver game and then tonight, it was just experience.”

After a first quarter in which they shot 50 percent from the field and led by as many as 11, the Trail Blazers had little success putting the ball in the basket in the remaining three quarters. Usually holding an opponent to 42 percent shooting from the field and 26 percent shooting from three would be good enough to keep a game close, but not against the Lakers Friday night.

Portland took a three-point lead into the half, but between turning the ball over seven times for 14 Lakers points and shooting just 1-of-4 from three in the third, they would be outscored by 12 in the quarter. The Blazers cleaned up the turnovers in the fourth, but with Lillard drawing double teams consistently and the rest of the team struggling to get shots to fall, a comeback never seemed feasible, let alone likely.

“Tonight was about our offense,” said Stotts. “There’s always room to improve defensively but tonight was about our offense. Lakers did a really good job of being aggressive on us, created turnovers in the third quarter and we weren’t able to capitalize on some of the looks that we did have.”

Lillard led the Blazers with 35 points, seven assists and three rebounds in 42 minutes. Gary Trent. Jr. finished with 19 points. Enes Kanter added 11 points and 17 rebounds in 35 minutes and Derrick Jones Jr. contributed 11 points, six rebounds, two blocks, two assists and a steal.

LeBron James led the Lakers with 28 points, 11 rebounds, seven assists, four steals and three blocks in 35 minutes. Dennis Schroder had 22 points and Montrezl Harrell scored 17 points off the bench.

Now the the Trail Blazers return home to play the last three games of the first half of their 2020-21 schedule, starting with a tilt Monday versus the Charlotte Hornets.

“We’ve lost four in a row, we’re coming home, we need to gain some momentum going into the break,” said Stotts. “I’m really confident about our group and how they compete and how important it is, so I don’t think we need to belabor the point. We know that these three games are important going into the break.”

Tipoff is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.

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